20 November 2009

Blogoversary of Leontine's Book Realm

When I created my blog, picked the basic template and filled my profile with interesting tidbits about me I never knew it would take me about 4-5 months to actually make it my home. This is why I have picked the date of my actual first post of HOME SWEET HOME as my blogoversary date. I can still remember the victorious feeling I had that I had conquered everything HTML…which kicked my butt various times later on proving me wrong. Between that post and now many things has changed; the content and look of my blog, the friends I have found in Blogoverse, I have opened my Beefcake club and found me some hunk bartenders.

It was only 6 weeks back when I had to do me some scouring in my blogposts where it hit me; though I placed every review I had before November 20th I actually opened the gates to my realm on November 20th. That’s when I started to ponder on what to do since I’m already doing a monthly giveaway, character interviews, author interviews and hhmmmm a guest post from somebody else didn’t ring true to me for a blogoversary. So I thought, why don’t I tell you more about me as a romance reader and a person. Perhaps that could be interesting, right? Right!

Leontine ‘The Romance Reader’…and that’s when it struck me. The very first moment I read a romance novel was when I was thirteen. My parents had subscribed themselves to a map folder full of magazines and there was also a romance story included, one that included a handful of kisses and the oh so familiar “the next morning” sentence. How my hormone raging body and my romantic beating heart fell for those stories. I was thirteen years old and a world opened itself for me…and this year I turned thirty-three. Unknowingly I almost passed by on another anniversary; The one where I have been a romance reader for twenty years. So let me take you on a journey through my years;

1989; Via our Dutch school system I was a freshman in highschool, LOOK WHO’S TALKING was one of the movies I loved that year and I put up my first Patrick Swayze poster, I considered myself officially a fan. Music of Paula Abdul – Rick Astley – Milli Vanilli – Roxette etc filled my room at night and my romance world existed solely out of that one romance novel from the map and it contained a handful of kisses and the oh so familiar “the next morning” sentence.

1990; THE year I completely, head-over-heels, fell in love with the bad boy from the class, he was set back a year, he had a “fuck-you-all” attitude and could kiss like nobody’s business. I saw Ghost and cried a bucket of tears at the ending. I also got a bit of money by working on the side, got my first perm and that is when my romance world took a leap with the Candlelight Historical Romance line from AUDAX Publisher. I did some grocery shopping for my mother and saw this cover:

I instantly fell for the rock hard and muscled thighs and his abs gave me butterfly feelings in belly, even then I was a junior cover hussy ;) In those days FABIO ruled as a cover model, he never got me all that hot and bothered though. It is also the year where I read my first Bertrice Small, that was quite the experience I will never forget. I think I was flustered throughout the entire book.

1991; Bad-boy and I were still a set and he was setting my world ablaze. It’s also the year I was pissed at prime-minister Kok for a reason I can’t remember anymore and my father encouraged me to send him a letter. I did and lo and behold I got a letter back…what did it say; Thank you for your interest in this matter. Prime-minister Kok always appreciates the involvement and opinions bla bla bla, at that moment I was flabbergasted. Now I know it’s just about a standard reply as they can come.

1992; I was a book junkie and discovered a variety of authors like Jude Deveraux and Johanna Lindsey. I saw the movie SISTER ACT I actually had 2 shelves in my closet where I put all my Candlelight Historicals, even then I loved the sight. It was THE year I broke up with bad-boy (cried myself a river full of tears) the year I had a school trip to London and we resurrected our “relationship” it still didn’t work and on the trip home I flirted and danced with a guy from a football team. Little did I know because how was I supposed to have recognized the name; Manchester United?!

1993; It was the year of JURASSIC PARK (scary!!)and I read my first Elizabeth Lowell, I instantly loved her medieval vibe, unknowingly I was up for more fabulous stuff with her 2nd and 3rd books in this trilogy; FORBIDDEN and ENCHANTED. No one I knew of my age read these books so my sister was victim of my rants and raves on all things romance. So she danced in her room to the music of Take That as I talked about the books I’ve read. I graduated from High School and went to study for my nursing degree. I sunbathed topless that summer, I felt so confident and didn’t care one bit who saw me.

1994; I turned eighteen, made new friends at my new school, danced, flirted, studied. I was on top of the world and life was good. It was the year I watched THE LION KING. Ever since my sister got the video of THE LITTLE MERMAID we were hooked on the DISNEY vids and in the winter there were many Sunday afternoons where we watched them. It was the golden era of DISNEY and I have all my favorites on DVD now. I still read of course but somehow it took a bit of the backseat.

1995; I remember having an assignment for class where we had to read 5 books in each of the 8 different age categories and while fellow students had to work their ass off I already read a lot, made book reports and aced it. I had an internship as a neonatal nurse and I absolutely loved it. By that time reading was a second nature and re-read many favorites, I loved my thrillers and mysteries as well along with my first attempts in the Fantasy genre. BTW, I still was a Patrick Swayze fan and watched TOO WONG FOO, THANKS FOR EVERYTHING JULIE NEWMAR. Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze, John Leguizamo were a couple of drag queens, hi-la-rious!

1996; I graduated for my study and it was the year I got my job at the children’s daycare center and through a contact ad I met hubby and fell in love again. Is was 19, almost 20 and he was 28, it was a stormy romance and by Christmas that year he proposed to me. I was over the moon and of course said yes. In that year I also read one of my all time favorites: Catherine Anderson – ANNIE’S SONG.

1997; Hubby and I got ourselves an apartment and I made the big move from my large and noisy family to a two peeps household. My parents saw the original wallpaper in my room again after a handful of years and they were shocked. To say I had to adjust was an understatement, I cooked in quantities that could feed us for the whole week. I got my membership card of our local library and each Saturday I scoured the shelves for books I might not have read. If I couldn’t find something new then the golden oldies I read a dozen times before would do too. My first shih-tzu Romy was born in December of ’97 she walked into my heart and never left.

1998; I loved my job. Hubby and I had passionate disagreements and we made up in just the same way. I discovered Stephanie Laurens with Devil’s Bride and my shih-tzu Esmé looked at me and I was sold. I had two pups to take care of. At the end of the summer my parents went to a breeder in Belgium and shih-tzu number three Jasmijn peed all over hubby, he said: “She’s mine.”

1999; I watched TV series like Profiler – the X-Files – Millennium - HERCULES: the legendary journeys - XENA: warrior princess etc. Then one day I did grocery shopping and I noticed a paperback in the super market, it turned out to be BORN IN FIRE, book one in the Concannon Sisters Trilogy. When I bought it I sealed my fate and became an utter Nora Roberts junky and read it all. From the Stanislaski Family - Donovan Legacy – MacGregor family - Three Sisters Island to her suspense novels. Two Alpha’s walked in to my life; Luka and Eros, both shih-tzu’s and I had my first litter of pups. Nothing beats seeing those little pups squirm and grow and play and I loved every second of those 9-12 weeks they were with me.

2000; OMG, the earth did not stop, crash or any apocalypse happened at the turn of the century so we all could sleep peacefully again. I discovered Reiki, Tarot cards and Rune stones…I was intrigued. I discovered Lynn Kurland at my library and Susan Carroll with THE NIGHT DRIFTER, loved the supernatural elements in them and they still sit on my shelves.

2001; How can anyone forget? I waited on the bus when a woman came to me and said in a shocked voice; “ A plane crashed in America.” I didn’t think any of it at the time, plane’s sometimes crash, it’s bad enough but not uncommon. I got home prepared dinner with hubby and told him I wanted to watch the news that I heard about a plane crash. What I saw horrified me and I was glued to the TV for the entire evening. 9-11 is a date no one will forget and the ripples of that day are still felt to this day.

2002; Due to a new law couples could get a license that made them official partners or they could get married, yet it was going to be one or the other. Hubby and I discussed it and he said he asked me to marry him so many years ago, he was old fashioned, he wanted me to carry his name. So we got married on 4-2-2002, it was a small affair with just parents and siblings and after the ceremony I bowled in my wedding dress and had dinner. The shoes were to die for and so incredibly hawt underneath my dress, it was hilarious to see. I still read in my spare hours and discovered Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witch’s trilogy. I think I was succumbed to that story for about a week, I could not get enough of this world, plot and characters.

2003; My love for the genres started shift as I read Katherine Neville’s THE EIGHT and Juliet Marillier’s Seven Waters series.

2004; I became an Aunt for the first time of a nephew. I was getting interested in internet and entered some chatrooms, change was coming.

2005; I quit my job to focus on IVF procedures, I got myself a computer and hooked myself on to the World Wide Web. I found a message board crawling with ladies like me and that is where I met Marissa and Pearl. A new world opened itself to me, I wasn’t some nerd who loved to read romance and I don’t want to count the times I said; “you too!” I felt at home and when a fellow reader talked about Sherrilyn Kenyon I hooked myself up with the www and found the Dark-hunter creed. I was sold at the spot and my love for the paranormal genre was born. I actually received the books of Karen Marie Moning sooner and when I read THE IMMORTAL HIGHLANDER I had to rave about it…little did I know I wrote a “review”. Old habits die hard and I had to infect my sister with the Dark-Hunter virus LOL

2006; I went on a complete book buying binge in a time where M-Bags were still the cheapest method of shipping large amounts of books. Basically I O.D.-ed every time such an M-Bag was delivered by the mailman. The first time is still carved in hubby’s memory. I had bought many Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunters, Karen Moning and Kinley Macgregor’s in hardcover and a few more I vaguely remember. The bell rang downstairs and Henry buzzed the mailman in – which I didn’t know at the time – he came walking in the living room with this utter puzzled frown on his face; “Leontine, this came in for you from the mailman.” I looked, I saw the M-Bag and gave this high pitched squeal of delight and practically ripped the M-Bag out of his hands. Hubby still looked at me like he saw an alien while I was grabbing scissors to cut open the M-Bag and box and petted all my precious hardcover books. I got rosy cheeks and a gleam in my eyes of pure satisfaction. When I unwrapped all the books I had a grin from ear to ear. Then hubby carefully approached me again saying; “Erm, Leontine, do you have more of those on its way here because I’m going to buy ear plugs if you do.” I don’t think he will ever “get me” with packages but by now he is a weathered book-addict hubby LOL It was also the year that I met Sherrilyn Kenyon and when ROOB was founded.

2007; The addiction got worse, I got me all the books I wanted but I was discovering much more, it was so different from when I was just reading the Dutch releases. I had an ocean of authors to pick from. Something new entered my world too, ARC reading, I didn’t have a clue what it was in the beginning but ROOB got some ARC’s and I loved it, loved reviewing a book and getting my opinion out there.

2008; In the early fall of that year I created my blog and started to dig in to all things HTML. I read as much as I could; Nalini Singh, Elizabeth Vaughan, Jennifer Donnelly, Paulina Simmons, Anna Campbell, Kathryne Kennedy and so many more. My father also build me my floor to ceiling bookcases and I can tell you #2 is already in the making. I really thought it would take time to fill it but my inner book-addict proved me wrong.

2009; I am thirty-three now, I have a TBR pile of approximately 600 dead tree books, I’ve written about 225 reviews and I have held five beefcake nights. My first erotica novel was Shayla Black’s WICKED TIES and I was oh so reluctant to read in the genre but found amazing reads I would’ve missed otherwise. My first commenter on my blog was Mieke. My first author commenting on my blog was Alyssa Day, If I knew she would be coming I would’ve rolled out the red carpet because I was going something like this; “OMG OMG, an author actually commented on my blog, this is sooooo uber kewl!” My first blog interview was at Erotic Horizon’s place and she opened my erotic horizon even further with her blog ;) My first header of my blog looked like this:

My top 10 search words – everybody has the weirdest things coming up but I’m so vanilla LOL

1. a highlander Christmas, sophie renwick, review
2. shadowfever release date
3. tairen soul
4. the notebook movie
5. geoffrey knight the riddle of the sands
6. anne rice sleeping beauty
7. cl wilson tairen soul book 5
8. karen moning shadowfever release date
9. movie the notebook
10. karen moning highlander series

My top 10 visited pages:

1. / <- whatever that entails is beyond me but it does tickly the curiosity.
2. /2009/10/in-memory-of-kathleen-winsor-my-top-16.html
3. /2009/01/smutty-society-members.html
4. /2009/08/cover-discovery-cl-wilsons-tairen-soul.html
5. /2009/01/rockin-blog-block.html
6. /2009/09/review-karen-moning-dreamfever.html
7. /2009/01/hero-heroines-hall-of-fame.html
8. /html?blogID=5474270223537658903
9. /2009/11/stephanie-laurens-untamed-bride-column.html
10. /2009/06/movie-notebook.html

Twenty years of romance, going from a kiss and “the next morning” to reading M/M romance and man having wrist thick cocks and women actually “swallow”. Times sure have changed as have I and my shelves will reflect that, from the early Bertrice Small’s and Jude Deveraux’s to the newly found authors like Joey W Hill, Lauren Dane and Ilona Andrews.

I love to celebrate my blogoversary and being a romance reader for twenty years so I’m going to pay it forward with an awesome 20-book swag giveaway for the followers of my blog (if you’re not you’re one click away from joining :) I have decided to give the winner a choice; I can ship you the 20 books or the winner can pick his/her own books at bookdepository.co.uk / bookdepository.com (if it ships to your country for free) for the amount of 25 euro or 35 american dollars. I'll pick a winner on December 5th.

1. Sherrilyn Kenyon – One Silent Knight

2. Sherrilyn Kenyon – Dream Warrior

3. Meljean Brook – Demon Night

4. Christine Feehan – Wild Rain

5. Christine Feehan – Ocean’s Of Fire

6. Chistine Feehan – Twilight Before Christmas

7. Charlaine Harris – Dead Until Dark

8. Annette Blair – My Favorite Witch

9. Gena Showalter – Heart Of The Dragon

10. Jeanne Adams – Dark And Dangerous

11. Donna Kauffman – The Legend Of MacKinnon

12. Melanie Jackson – The Selkie

13. Brenda Joyce – A Dangerous Love

14. Margaret Mallory – Knight Of Desire

15. Jennifer Ashley – Penelope And Prince Charming

16. Delilah Marvelle – Lord Of Pleasure

17. Melissa Marr – Wickedly Lovely

18. Jaid Black – Deep, Dark And Dangerous

19. Lora Leigh – Menage A Magick

20. Lili Feisty – Bound To Please

Aidan has dressed up and I'd say; Grab a champagne flute and a piece of cake and tell me, do you remember your very first romance novel you’ve ever read?

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  1. Congratulations on your Blog Anniversary Leontine!
    I really enjoyed the biography.
    I'm glad you met Henry.
    I related to your journey through time.
    Those Dutch covers are beautiful.
    Thank you for sharing Leontine.
    Love & Best Wishes to you & yours,

  2. Great Post and great walk on memory lane... Nostalgia like that feels so good sometimes :) Congratulations and thanks for sharing your love with us :)

  3. Congrats again hon!
    *grabs a champagne flute*

    I love the Dutch Covers. Reading Dutch for me is like reading wrong spelled German. That sounds nasty but I hope you know what I mean. Sounds funny and doesn't make sense in my ears.LOL

    Really loved the post! Snorted coffee on my netbook as I read about the fangirl squeek. Sounds really familiar in my ears!

    My first romance? Huh? I think that was Dark Lover by J.R.Ward. See I'm a real newbie in the genre. Never read any Nora Roberts!

    So a toast to the next 20 years reading romance for Leontine!!
    As we German say: Prost!
    Enjoy your blogoversary!!

  4. Congratulations on the Blogoversary!

    I don't remember first romance novel I ever read but it was a Dutch equivalent of the Harlequin Categories, BOUQUET REEKS, probable around the same age as you 12/13, which I found at my godmother's place and being an bookdevourerer since early age I started reading that and was hooked on romance. From there I switched to CL and then Jude Deveraux (I am so mad I can't remember the title) opened the way further to my romance reading addiction.

  5. OMG sorry for all the typos in the previous comment...I am not having a great typing day today LOL

  6. Leontine - I love this post! How fun to go back on a memory lane and see what you were reading compared to what you were doing in real life. I love it. It fun to see how your reading has evolved too.

    Happy Blogoversary!!!

    (don't enter me - I have many of those books ;) Addiction? Who us? :)

  7. @RKCharron - Thanks for the wishes and the covers are a cherry on the cake for me, always have been always will :)

    @Larissa - Throughout the week i tries to read up on what every year entailed and I was lost in time I tell ya. It's when I decided to do things on memory, I lost too much time on lurking on the net.

    @Susi Sunshine - I'm sipping on champagne with you Susi and eyeing me some cake too. It's weird sometimes to read a foreign language or what about you see a cover and instantly think it is a Garwood or Kurland, that happened to me once or twice.

    @Pearl - Harlequin was also a provider of romances, remember the Baccarra line or the "Super Roman" I still have all my favorites of those days on my shelves.

    @Mandi - Some of the "golden oldies" still are comfort reads but as i reread many times in my teens and tweens I simply do not have the time anymore. And I hear ya, yea, you're very addicted Mandi, but nog telling you anything you don't know already *smiles*

  8. What a cool Post! You have a much better memory than I do, that is for sure!! Congrats on the Blogoversery!


  9. Hi Leontine :)
    I just finished posting about your Blog Anniversary & giveaway on my blog. I hope I did justice to it.
    All the best,

  10. Happy Blogoversary!

    Do you count Pride and Prejudice a romance, or just a classic. It is a love story after all....if not then I think I would have to say that my first romance was Betrayed by Bertrice Small....can't tell you how many months I spent reading all of the books of hers that I could find.

    Thanks for sharing your history, it's always nice to learn more about the person behind the blog :)

  11. I love this post! I enjoyed walking down memory lane with you. I've read a few the same authors when I was younger. You have a terrific memory, I wish I could remember have of what I read as a teen.

    Happy Blogoversary Leontine!

    Thank you for sharing your lovely memories with us. :)

    Please don't include me for the giveaway part. I have a lot of these titles or read them before.

  12. Brilliant post, Leontine. I loved reading about your journey as a romance reader. Congratulation on your first blogoversary. Here's hoping you'll have many more to come!

  13. @Book Junkie - I think I am telling you about all thise books I have re-read a dozen times so they're permanantly ingraved in my memory LOL

    @RKCharron - Thanks so much for the pimpage, you posted the covers and I noticed I had a different one of melissa marr's, I love the one you posted.

    @Booklover1335 - As my good friend Marissa would say is that jane Austen is the mother of all romance stories so yea, you can count Pride And Prejudice as a romance read ;)

    @Donna - Thanks for the warm wishes and as I've said, many books have been re-read so they hooked themselves in my memory. And I'll keep your name out of the hat too ;)

  14. Congratulations on your anniversary,and thanks for the awesome post! So many memories....
    I've read the same books and Patrick Swayze was my favorite too!
    If you don't count all the Harlequins and Barbara Cartland books I think my first romance was The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss

  15. What a wonderful post - thank you so much for taking us on your romance journey!

  16. What a unique post for an anniversary! I loved reading though your years of romance reading and other tid-bits about you. I didn't start reading romances until about 4 1/2 years ago. And my first one was Christine Feehan's Dark Prince...and I never finished it! LOL. I did try again and finished it. I was trying to make that transition from fantasy to romance and it took a few tries. It wasn't until I discovered SK and KMM that the deal was finally sealed. And I've been hooked ever since.

    Congrats on you blogiversary!

  17. Beautiful post Leontine! Congratz on the blogoversary!

    Hugs, Marissa

  18. Happy Blogiversary Leontine!!

    I enjoyed reading your timeline and I love those covers. I'm going to have to show my mom those.I tried to call her to tell me how to say/spell Happy Anniversary in Dutch but she didn't answer :)

    I don't remember what my first romance book was but I'm sure I got it from my older sister and it was a Harlequin.

    I'm so glad I found your blog, I love coming by and reading your reviews and having to add a ton more books to my TBR pile.

    And I love your Beefcake Preview Club Nights..and thanks for putting up with my antics during them..lol.I have a ton of fun.

    **Aidan hands me a drink**
    Aidan take care of Leontine today ;)

    ohhhh..there's cake too :D


  19. Damn, Leontine, you're an awesome writer. I'm Dutch myself, a journalist living abroad and often writing in English, but your words have a fluency and vibe that make me seriously doubt my choice of profession!

    I've been following your posts for a while now, even though I'm NOT EVEN A ROMANCE FAN. How odd is that...

    I read the Bouquet Reeks and Candelights as a teen, but then switched to other genres and I don't see myself picking up a Nora Roberts any time soon either.

    Then why, you may ask, am I here?
    It's simple. It's you.

    I hope you makes heaps of money with this blogging thing. I know that's not your motive at all, but you certainly deserve it. You have a way of connecting with an audience in a very special way.

    Hail , hail, hail to you!

  20. Congrats! I'm really not sure, but it might have been Love Story though-- remember that?. I haven't read much romance until the last year or so. I have SOOOOO much time to make up for. The cool thing is that I'm so far behind I have tons of already published books to pick from!

  21. @EvaS - Barbara Cartland is an author I only know by name but I believe she is on of those authors many start out with.

    @Joely Sue Burkheart - Glad I can share my journey with all of you ;)

    @AmyC - So glad you stuck to it and SK and KMM I know the feeling, they were my first in English and will always be treasured.

    @Marissa - Hey hon, glad to see you dropping by!

    @Elaing8 - girl you're a Beefcake regular and love having you around, you know that right? I think at one time I had about 2000 Harlequin novels in my home but sold them all to finance my book binge on english novels *eek* I still have my all time faves though.

    *I don't mind ocupying Aidan for a while but Tristan asks if he can feed you some cake*

    @AF Kock - Thanks for your compliments AF Kock ;D I'm so happy to know you're enjoying my blog and a fellow Dutch peep to boot! *woohoo*

    @moonsanity - That's what i felt too the first 2 years, like I had so many fabulous authors to catch up on and still have many on my shelves that need my undivided attention. Glad you stopped by...

  22. Oh he** yes!!! **sits on Tristan's lap**
    Ok I'm ready for my cake now..LOL ;)

  23. Damn, I am always late to the party!!!
    ****yayayayayayayay on your versary*********
    I absolutely adore you, but I think you already knew that! Thank you for giving us a look into what made Leontine!!! I love this post! Thank you for sharing everything!
    You are welcome to drop my name in the sea of names to be entered.

    Well, my very first romance novel I read was Sandra Brown, Breakfast In Bed. And I still have that book. She freaking rocked my world. Then I immediately devoured anything and everything by her. I felt like a termite - getting my hands on everything... then the trail lead to others... and then it stopped for a while. Life got in the way and I had no time for reading... Then... Twilight came out and reminded me what I missed... and I learned something new... there were other creatures of the night out there and I was loving them up!!!
    Thanks for the "back in time" post Leontine!! Love ya honey!!!

  24. Oh wait a minute... What is this... Tristan is feeding Elaing cake!!! LOL!!! What about me... Don't leave me out just cuz I am late!!!!

    **batting eyelashes sweetly at the guys**

    I too, want to thank you for putting up with me (*and Elaing*) for those wonderfully, delicious, hot Beefcake nights!!! =)

  25. Happy Blogoversary! This is a great post! Thanks for sharing all of your yearly memories. I have to admit, I got a little teary at 2001. :-( I enjoyed the memories of tv shows from back in the day, though!

    My first romance novel was a Harlequin Presents title, I'm sure, although I don't remember specifically which one I read first. But I can tell you that it was either by Charlotte Lamb, Penny Jordan or Carole Mortimer because for a few years there, I read EVERYTHING those ladies put out! Ahhh....Carole Mortimer; her books left SUCH an impression on me! She's the reason I still read romance today!

  26. ohmigosh i just adored this post! the story of your life told through books, personal, and pop culture events. of course the book part is what really got me ;)

    i don't remember my EXACT frist romance novel, but it was most likely Jude Deveraux's Black Lyon (i still love me a good mideval!), something by Amanda Quick, or something by Catherine Coulter.

    I still adore all those old skool romance authors today (not very avant guarde of me, but i do) and am just jumping on the paranormal boat with Nalini Singh and Sherrilyn Kenyon.

    Im now a brand new Leotine follower wtoo!

  27. It was fun strolling down memory lane with you :) I love your blog and YOU too! The world of book bloggers is a better place with you in it xoxo. Happy blogoversary.

  28. Happy bloversary, Leontine! What a terrific post. Thanks for sharing those wonderful memories and here's to many more!

  29. Congratulatons Leontine on your blog anniversary and what fun to read through your literary journey that brought you here!

    I raise my coffee cup to many more satisfying reads for you!

    Amanda M

  30. @Cecile - Girl, Tristan has time and energy for you both and as a beefcake regular you know the doors are always open for you. Sam actually read your short story...he secluded himself after that *hhmmmm*

    @Penny - Oh, Penny Jordan!! I have read POWER PLAY over a dozen times and I have my worn down copy still on my shelves. *sigh, such nostalgia*

    @Lusty reader - I'm so happy you joined me here and old skoll authors like that still sit on my shelves too. I don't often re-read them but I will never part with them either. I love Kenyon and Singh, both top-notch authors and look forward to chatting about them with you!

    @Fiction Vixen - yea, I'm glad I met you and many more bloggy friends. I have such fun with you guys chatting about all things smutty and books.

    @Annette McCleave - I'll toast to that Annette and for everyone reading, check out Annette McCleave's new cover BOUND BY DARKNESS. It is gooood.

  31. Happy Blogaversary!!

    Wonderful post, it's always such fun to take a trip down memory lane. Congrats on the success of your site.

    Thanks for the champagne and yummy cake.

  32. Congratulatons on your blogoversary! Cheers!

  33. Congrats! I'm enjoying my champagne and the waiter!

  34. Congratulations on your blogoversary and many happy returns of the day!

    I do not recall my very first romance. That has been so long ago now and there have been so many! I want to say that it was a sneak read of one of my mother's or older siblings' books! O.O Naughty me! lol!

    Thank you for sharing the memories with us. It was FUN!

  35. Congratulations Leontine on your blogiversary! I just have one question...What's an m-bag? It sounds like something I'd like to get...LOL

    By the way, what an amazing way to celebrate...I can't wait for the fun to begin.

    Happy Reading
    Anna Shah Hoque

  36. Congratulations on your blogoversary, loved the trip down memory lane and yes it is interesting to read about the person behind the contests/giveaways and site page.. I am always happy to find another bookie to relate to.
    The champagne cannot drink because tickles my nose and I sneeze, the cake however very yummy.
    I cannot remember the name of my first romance book but can remember it belonged to an aunt and was very risque reading for a 14 year old.

    Jackie B Central Texas

  37. Leontine this has got to be one of my fav posts you've done, although the beef cake preview is a close second!

    Twenty years of romance, going from a kiss and “the next morning” to reading M/M romance and man having wrist thick cocks and women actually “swallow”. Times sure have changed--> LOL!

    Happy Blogversary *kissie noises*

  38. Congrats on all your achievements! I enjoy your book reviews and your unabashed love of hottie cover models.

    As for my first romance book, that would be The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss.

  39. @Lily - In all the frenzy I forgot some more champagne and cake *yells; Aidan* I'm glad you joined me in my trip on memory lane ;)

    @Chey - Thanks

    @Cheekygirl - clinking the flutes; Cheers!

    @Nece - I was the oldest sibbling in my family and no one who read like me but my sister definetely borrowed a book on ocassion.

    @s7Anne - An M-Bag is a large sturdy material sack where the sender can place boxes of books in. I know of one bookseller (online) who still ships MBags and I pay 29,50 dollar for 12 pounds of books if I'm correct.

    @Jacabur1 - My new years resolution for 2010 is to infuse a bit more personal blogposts. Yet everything I do on my blog is me as a book-addict, from Beefcake club; love to talk male characters from books. Covers; again love to talk all things abs and pecs LOL Giveaways; I like to share ;) and most of all; I like to read and review.

    @Smokinhotbooks - Glad you had a hoot KC!! I still remeber when i read one of KMM's books where she described the "male organ" as one that was as thick as the womans wrist...intriguing *grin*

    @Joder - I love the KW I have on my shelves, fabulous romance.

  40. Omigosh that is so awesome! I've got to try it...at least once...Would you kindly post the info so that I can go check it out? Thanks a bunch.

  41. Congrats Leontine! Your trip down memory lane is awesome. Loved to read it and the Dutch bookcovers stirred up some memories of my own :)
    It's great that you can recollect all these titles. I myself can't remember my first romance but it probably was a Bouquet Reeks or Candlelight ;)

  42. Oh my this is one kickass party! I might have drooled a bit over those books ;)

    The champagne is flowing, let's get down and boogie :)

    And yes I have it clear in my head. I was 10, it was summer, I found a Harlequin at home and took it with my to a friends summerhouse. On the cover was this blond woman on a bed and a sheik looking over her. I still remember the Swedish title, so I read it and I was hooked. I borrowed everything from my grandmother and an older cousin. I must have read so many Barbara Cartland, their Historical series, and those by Carolin Courtney. it opened up so many doors for me :D

    Happy anniversary!!!!!

  43. Congrats on your Blogoversary. I so remember my first romance novel. I was about 12 and it was one of those teen romances. I am dating myself, but that was before we had a real YA genre. It was call The Summer of the Sky Blue Bikini. I can still see the cover! And that was more than 25 years ago!!

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

  44. Happy Blogoversary! I read my first romance novel when I was 14 or 15...The Paper Marriage by Bronwyn Williams. It is still one of my faves 10 years later.

    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  45. HAPPY BLOGOVERSARY LEONTINE! your blog rocks i always love reading what you post. may you have many many more anniversarys *squishens*

  46. Congrats on the Blogoversary!

    Thanks for taking us on such a great trip down memory lane.

  47. Happy Anniversary hon!!!!!!!!! I can't tell you how much I love coming to visit at your place. And I so enjoyed reading about how you found romance and about your life through the years! I think we are about the same age girl if not exactly very very close I graduated in 94 when I was 17! Thanks so much for sharing all these special memories with us! I'm thankful everyday that I found your blog your awesome girl! BIG HUGS and again Congrats and many many more!!!!!!!!!

  48. Happy Blogoversary! Awesome post! Love the trip down memory lane. :D Thank you for sharing.

  49. Happy Blogoversary!

    I have to say I'm really impressed by your memory, I have no idea what I was reading three years ago, not to mention almost fifteen, wow.

    I have looked through all the comments and I didn't see this, but if it's there and I haven't seen it do please forgive the repetition: the "\" in the statistics refers to the homepage of the blog (in your case http://leontine1976.blogspot.com/),which means that the homepage is the most visited link. That's usually the case because most links point there -- after all, there's a reason why it's named homepage, isn't there :)

  50. Hello again my sweet. You've been tagged in an m/m meme over at my place--fictionvixen.com :) xoxo

  51. What an utterly charming post!! I loved walking with you down the memory of romance path. Although I'm older, and so my movies and music a bit different, I could relate to much of what you experienced.
    Happy Blogiversary and I'm so glad you are part of 'us'.

  52. What are great giveaway, congrats!

  53. Hey Sweetie,

    This was an awesome blog - you made me laugh with the stories of your youth and cry with the reminder of 911, and you made me remember why I write romance.

    Thank you.


  54. Leontine! Happy Blogoversary!!!

    Thanks for the wonderful trip down memory lane. I loved reading more about you and your obsesstion - I mean love - of romance books. *wink*

    No need to enter me in the giveaway. I've got way too many books to read as it is.

    Hugs, VFG

  55. Happy Blogoversary!! I can't remember if the first romance I read was Rosemary Rogers or Kathleen Woodiwiss - been way too many years ago!!! But i was hooked!!

    I follow on google.

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

  56. hey, please check my blog... there's a surprise 4 you :)

  57. congratulations on your blogversary, Leontine! I started reading your blog at the beginnning of the summer and appreciate your reviews and recommendations, especially for authors new to me. I too am amazed at the turn of romance tastes from sweet to the very hot, all available in the romance section of regular bookstores.
    Keep up the great blog.

  58. Yay congratulation on the Blog anniversary. You are a reference when it comes to Romance books!
    Lol no the earth did not stop in 2000...they were wrong it's gonna happen in 2012 LOL
    I read my first romance novel not so long ago....well i started reading paranormal romance (Dark Lover by J.R Ward) then i tried romance per se (The Madness of Lord Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley).
    I never thought romance would take such a large place in my TBR list!

  59. Congrats on the anniversary! I gave you an award this morning on my blog! :)

  60. @Blodeuedd - Oh how great you remember your first romance novel. Harlequin is well represented in our romance world!

    @Bethie - Oh yes, teen romance...had me a few books too. My grandmother frequently gave me books and I remeber one titles (translated from dutch title) Wake Up! from Ellen Tijsinger. I remember that one so clearly because the baby brother from the teen girl it was all about got in an accident and ended up in a come. How it affected her family life and in the mean time falling in love for the first time. I still have my hardcover copy.

    @throuthehaze - Bronwyn Williams sounds familiar ;)

    @Sparklybearsy - You make me smile - as always - thanks for the wishes!

  61. @donnas - you're welcome donnas. I had a bit of fun myself remembering ;)

    @Kay - Thanks for the info...it was so weird to see that slash and not clarifying what page it was.

    @Fiction Vixen - Oh gawd...have to lay it all bare for you guys *eek*

    @Kristie - Thanks for joining me in my joy of romance reading and my first anniversary ;)

    @Milka - Thanks!!

    @HAWK - Somehow it makes me happy that you laughed, cried and remembered. Thanks for joining me!!

    @VFG - ROFL I'm obsessively loving the genre! That's for sure ;)

    @Martha Lawson - Oh yes, Kathleen Woodiwiss is one of my first too. I re-read a few until pages let go from the spine LOL

  62. @JennJ - My birth year was August 1976...I think we're very close in age ;)

    @ErotRomReader - You are one of the few who can recognize the titles and stories. Harlequin and all the various book releases and Candlelight HR were a part of my reading world for quite some years.

    @Anna - Thank you for the felicitations!

    @Larissa - Ohhh me lubs surprises!!!

    @JessW - Oh, I'm so glad you left a comment, I always enjoy hearing from those who frequent my blog!

    @pattipoilue - I always get my fingers tangles while writing your name, so weird. And Ward and Ashley, very good names to enter yourself in the romance genre!

    @Kindle Vixen - OMG...on my way to your place. Thank you :)

  63. OOO we are indeed my birth year was Sept. 1976 so we are within a month of each other! Too cool. I'm so glad I found your blog you have truly been a blessing to me as well as helping me find great new reads and chatting about something I love. :)

  64. What a fabulous trip down memory lane! I used to think romance novels were cheesy, thanks to Fabio. I never liked him. But boy was I wrong! I would have to say that first romance novel was Dark Lover by J.R. Ward. And I have Fiction Vixen to thank for introducing me to the Brothers! I am completely in love with John Matthew! As far as romance novels go, I've only gotten my feet wet. I can't wait to dive right in! (Once I get over my YA addiction.)

    Happy Blogoversary!

  65. What fun trip down memory lane.
    And Happy Blogoversary.

    ~ JakeLsewhere

  66. Congratulation on the Blog anniversary. I have read so many of the books & authors that you mentioned. Only difference is about 40 yrs.LOL. I finally remember the name of my first romance book "Lady Chatterleys Lover", not for a teen to be reading in 1960, so I did so on the sly..LOL. steamy, game keeper, Oliver, having affair with lady of manor. I have read thousands of books, no kidding..Some authors I no longer see advertised, maybe dead, are Frank G. Slaughter and Frank Yerby. No room to keep that many books so had to give them to "Friends of the Library" for the old book sale. Would love to be added to your giveaways.. I love your blog and will be back.

  67. AKA Ferishia:)
    Happy Blogversary! I wish you many more! :) This was an awesome peek through your life time. I don't quite remember what I first read, but I know it was one of those little skinny Harlequin Romance books. I started reading those in 5th grade, 31 years ago (did I just date myself?) . A bunch of us girls passed them around in school, then I started purchasing them at places similar to Goodwill. I lost my collection when I moved though.:( In HS I still read, but not much romance anymore. Not until earlier this year, was my romance book interest peaked again with Paranormals, specifically vampires. Demon Moon by Meljean Brook started/restarted it all. I have amassed a large TBR pile of 500+ from this year alone. *blushes* And I have a Kindle DX on my wishlist for Christmas/Wed Anniversary.

  68. Happy Blog-anniversary !!

    I think the first romance book that i read, will be 'One night of Scandal' by Nicola Cornick :)
    i love the story. Now, I'm reading Captive of Sin, Anna Campbell.

    please count me in the drawing

  69. It was WAY too long ago for me to remember what my first romance novel was !

    I do think it was one of Georgette Heyer's books but can't say which one.

    You certainly have managed to recall a lot of your journey with the blog.

    Did you find that as you were trying to remember things, other things just cropped up that you had forgotten ?

    That often happens to me.

    Best of luck for the coming years and please enter me in the giveaway.
    Thank you.


  70. @JennJ - Oh your a dragon and a virgo too...it practically makes us twins LOL

    @The Book Vixen - yeah, the romance has upped a notch since Fabio...Two years ago I believe he hosted a cover model program and while he may be the nicest guy evah I can't get all wamr and tingly over his looks or cover. Perhaps if they do a headless cover...perhas then ;)

    @Jake Lsewhere - Thanks for coming over and join in!

    @Brenda - OMG that many years reading, I often wonder if I would still be reading certain authors at celebrating my 40th or 50th anniversary as a romance reader.

    @Ferishia - ssshhhh I think no one noticed and I won't tell! I've got a shine e-reader on my santa list oo and 500+ TBR pile, jeez, in only one year?? Hallalujah! And Meljean Brook is an author high on my list too.

    @Mariska - Captive of ISn...Gideon...yessss, I long for the moment I open that book. Love Anna Campbell.

    @buddyt - I remembered as I wrote but also remeber certain books simply because they created such an impact on my readers world.

  71. Sorry I'm late to the party *holds up glass of champagned in a toast* Congratulations!!!!!

    I like your original banner - very nice. I can't believe you were reading romance at age 13, I must have lived a sheltered life :)

    This was nice to see what you were doing in your life through the years - thank you for sharing.

  72. Happy Blogoversary! This was a fabulous post! I shared quite a few of those same life moments.

    Wasn't Patrick Swayze absolutely stunning in "To Wong Fu: Thanks for everything, Julie Newmar"? One of my favorite movies!

    The first romance novel that left an impression was "Marry in Haste" by Jane Aiken Hodge. I also read lots of Georgette Heyer and Barbara Cartland in my early teen years.

    I am a new follower and subscriber.
    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  73. Congrats on your Blogoversary! I am a new follower of your Blog. I love to find out people are just as engrossed in Romance books and i am. I am always always finding new authors to read. I am pretty open to most genre's so i rarely pick up a book i don't read. some of your fav i think are mine. Julie Garwood and Nora Roberts were among the first authors i fell in love with. I look forward to reading your blog.


  74. Aww...that was great! I read my first romance at 14...and it was one of my Grandma's. I hid it under the couch so my parents didn't know. I was hooked after that...it was my first and only western romance.

    I posted this on my contest page at my blog! I am a new follower...thanks to Ms. Smexy!

    posted the contest at www.bibliophilicbookblog.com

  75. Congrats for your blogoversary! over 600 books are your TBR? no words to describe it!

    I don't remember the first romance novel I read, I know it was my mother's and that I hide to read it because I was a little smutty!

    Please enter me on your contest!


  76. Please count me in. I am a follower.

    simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

  77. Happy Blogoversary! How fast time flies!

    I'm now following.


  78. Congrats on your Blogoversary! That was an interesting post and I loved the covers! The first romance I read was Airs Above Ground by Mary Stewart after seeing the movie Moon Spinners!
    I am a follower so please include me in your give away! Thanks.

  79. @Patti - I can alter so many times, when I stumbled on to a copy of my very first the basic idea was still there but much has changed too ;) Thanks for joining me on my party!

    @Virginia C - Too Wong Foo is one of those movies I loved to watch with a couple of gals, some popcorn and wine. I had so many laugh-out-loud moment with them. Thanks for joining me in the festivity and on the blog!

    @modokker - Oh, Julie Garwood, yes...I still remember how she fueled my love for the highlander novels with her Saving Grace etc. Glad you joined me Modokker!

    @Monica - Thanks for the pimping Monica, it's much appreciated! I love to share the love for the genre. I'll hop by your blog.

    @Sheere - So happy you joined me Sheere and I've tossed your name in the hat!

    @Stacie - Thrown your name in the hat too, good luck!

    @Llehn - I had that same thought while writing this post. How fast time flies and how many books I already read in that time.

    @MarthaE - Martha Stewart is an unknown to me author but that's the beauty of it...connect with each other and hence...my TBR of hundreds of books LOL

  80. hi leontine! congratulations on your blogoversary and thank you for sharing your book journey. that was a fun read :)

    my first romance was johanna lindsey's joining when i was 13 or 14. i found my mom's romance stash and i've been reading since.

    thanks for sharing the book love and hosting this giveaway :)
    have a great week!
    Michelle S.

  81. Congrats on this milestone! I honestly cannot remember the first romance I read, but I do remember looking at the covers all my life as my mother had a large collection. I think the first 'romance' I remember, though, is The Vampire Armand. I know it is not intended to be a romance, but a large portion of the book is dedicated to the love between two characters. I found it so irresistibly sweet.

  82. Congrats Leontine on your blogoversery!!! I'm sorry to be so late to the party :( What a wonderful post though and your memory Wow! I will say I do remember my first romance it was KMM's Dark Highlander and her MacKelter twins *sighs* she'll always be one of my favorites b/c of that alone.

  83. Congratulations. What an awesome review of romance. This is my very first visit to your blog. I've done lots of reading. And Of course I joined up to follow you via blogger.

    My very first romance. Sadly, I don't remember its name, but I do remember I was 12 years old and I snagged it from under my sister's bed. When I was 14 I became a Harlequin subscriber. I'm a bit more selective today, but there's always time for a good romance.


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